Hating the summer heat? Try this chilly read. Every time I sat down to read "The Ice Princess" by Camilla Läckberg, I found myself snuggled under blankets. The frigid Swedish winter setting of this mystery crept into me from page one, while the plot twists and cold calculations of the characters kept me turning pages.
Erica Falck returns home after the untimely death of her parents to settle the estate and take stock of her solitary life and career as a biographer. Not long after her return, she learns of her childhood friend Alex's suicide. Erica and Alex grew apart after Alex moved away suddenly at age 10, but Erica is certain there is more to the story. Using her research skills as a biography writer, Erica re-connects with Alex's family, who have asked her to write a book about Alex's life. How is Alex connected to their classmate, Anders, a brilliant but deeply troubled painter? How is the wealthy Lorentz family involved -- and what happened to the oldest Lorentz boy, Nils?
In the course of her research, Erica connects with another childhood acquaintance, Patrik Hedstrom, who is the investigating officer on Alex's case. As they share their findings, they uncover remarkable stories of pain and deception. What the families show to the world are thin veneers covering ugly truths. Patrick and Erica learn they have more in common than just wanting to uncover the real story of Alex's death.
Läckberg has been referred to as the Swedish Agatha Christie, and for good reason. The setting and intricate narrative will remind you of Steig Larsson's trilogy, "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo." "Ice Princess" is less graphic but the characters' motivations and pace of the writing will not disappoint. This is the first of the Patrik Hedstrom series, with four books to follow: "The Preacher," "The Stonecutter," "The Stranger" and "The Hidden Child."
Recommended by Frazier Walker